‘Le Lionne” Moussa Djitte Helps Austin FC Make History
Austin forward Moussa Djitté heads the ball away from the goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

While the first-half performance from Austin FC is one we’ve witnessed before, Moussa Djitte’s 32-minute performance in the second half had soccer fans around the nation in awe. 

 

Within 32 minutes of play, he scored the only three goals of the match to help Austin FC secure a playoff spot, breaking club history in more ways than one. Djitte is the first and only player to record a hat trick for Austin FC, and he helped Austin make it to the playoffs for the first time in Austin FC’s young club history.

 

This specific hat trick caught the eyes of MLS headquarters as he is only the 6th player in MLS history to score a hat trick after coming off the bench, and he is the first since 2010. Leave it to “the moose,” as he has been famously nicknamed by Austin FC commentator Mike Lahoud, to break a 12-year stat and a three-game losing streak.

 

As mentioned in a previous article, Djitte has always been considered a super sub for me. There is a marked difference when he enters the pitch. He brings tenacity, creativity, and a general spark to the team. While he may not have scored all the goals from previous matches after being subbed in, he certainly played a role in creating them. I had a feeling he would get a goal tonight, but nobody could have guessed he’d walk away with a hat trick in 32 minutes. The man was unstoppable.

 

{insert tweet} https://twitter.com/imkatiegoodman/status/1570241665155072001

 

To add to an already incredible feat, it turns out that Moussa has been dealing with much more off the pitch than we had previously known. This year alone, he has lost both his brother and his grandmother, all while welcoming in a newborn son.

 

In a post-game interview, he dedicated his three goals to his family members mentioned above. The same mental toughness he applies on the field, he has had to use off the field. 

 

His translator said on his behalf, “To be a great player, you need to be mentally strong, and he always prepares his mentality first.”

 

 I asked him how he performs so well off the bench almost every time, and he answered via his translator, “he doesn’t let go. He is a lion that never lets go and keeps on grinding and grinding.”

 

Josh Wolff sang his praises tonight, along with everyone else in the US soccer world. Coach Wolff said in the post-game conference, “we could use his feet coming in from underneath, which we did a little bit with Maxi at times. I knew he would give us a few things that would ask different questions. Their backline was going to have trouble with a guy like Moussa.”

 

A noticeable pattern for Austin FC: a goal is soon to follow when Josh Wolff makes key subs. “The contributions from subs this year has been extremely good.” VP of Communications, Ryan Madden, added, “Austin FC has 13 goals from substitutions, the second most in the MLS.”

 

 Josh Wolff added, “We needed to get fresh legs, but more importantly, Moussa can stretch them… You have to give a lot of credit to Moussa as well, bringing in the physicality and bringing others into the game, staying alert in and around goal.”

 

The decision to play Moussa was not a game-time decision. He knew going into the game that he would have to come off the bench with magic, so he prepared himself accordingly. 

 

His translator responded, “before everything, he was preparing mentally, so it’s not the first time. He said he is always ready, even if it’s only 5 minutes. He’s going to play the five minutes like a normal game.” 

 

I tip my hat to Austin FC and Moussa Djitte for making an ordinary night of soccer quite spectacular. 

 

Katie Goodman

Soccer Analyst

 

@imkatiegoodman